Dufner conquers Oak Hill for first major title

ROCHESTER. American Jason Dufner erased memories of his heart-breaking late collapse two years ago when he clinched his first major title by two shots in the 95th PGA Championship on Sunday.
Jason Dufner gets a kiss after winning the first major of his career. Net photo.
Jason Dufner gets a kiss after winning the first major of his career. Net photo.

FINAL ROUND LEADERBOARD
-10: J Dufner (US)
-8: J Furyk (US)
-7: H Stenson (Swe)
-6: J Blixt (Swe)
-5: A Scott (Aus), S Piercy (US)
 Selected others:
-3: R McIlroy (NI)
-2: G McDowell (NI), M Warren (Sco)
+3: L Westwood (Eng)
+4: T Woods (US)
+8: I Poulter (Eng)
+12: P Mickelson (US)

ROCHESTER. American Jason Dufner erased memories of his heart-breaking late collapse two years ago when he clinched his first major title by two shots in the 95th PGA Championship on Sunday.

One stroke behind playing partner Jim Furyk overnight, the ultra-laidback Dufner produced some scintillating approach play on the way to a two-under-par 68 and a 10-under total of 268 on the challenging Oak Hill Country Club.

“It probably still hasn’t hit me yet,” Dufner said after being presented with the coveted Wanamaker Trophy which he hoisted high before kissing it. “I can’t believe this is happening to me.”

Dufner, 36, seized control with three birdies on the front nine and shut the door on his rivals with a steely display of precise shot-making, backed up by safety-first golf over the difficult closing stretch. A stunning approach to a foot at the par-four 16th earned him his fourth birdie of the day and he could afford the luxury of bogeys at 17 and 18, two of the toughest holes on the course, as he secured his third victory on the PGA Tour.

Only 23 other players have fired 63s in golf’s elite championships and Dufner joined a select group of just six who went on to win the tournament - emulating Tiger Woods, Greg Norman, Raymond Floyd, Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller.

Former U.S. Open champion Furyk, bidding at the age of 43 to win his first major crown in a decade, signed off with a 71 to finish alone in second place after struggling off the tee.

Henrik Stenson, aiming to become the first Swedish man to land one of golf’s elite titles, closed with a 70 and a seven-under tally, one stroke better than compatriot Jonas Blixt (70).

Rory McIlroy, who had played his way back into contention with a 67 on Saturday, effectively sank his title defense when he hit his second shot at the par-four fifth into water en route to a triple-bogey before winding up at three under with a 70.

Tiger Woods, seeking to end a five-year title drought at the majors, ended a forgettable week with a 70 to finish halfway down the leaderboard at four-over 284.

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